The prospect of a hung Parliament at Westminster makes the DUP “serious players” on the national stage, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said.
Speaking as counting got under way at the Lagan Valley count centre near Lisburn, the DUP candidate described a slim Conservative majority in the Commons as “perfect territory” for the DUP in terms of influence.
“If the Conservatives are just short of an overall majority it puts us in a very very strong negotiating position, and certainly one that we will take up with relish,” he said.
However, Mr Donaldson stressed that he was not going to pre-empt the outcome of the poll ahead of the ballots being counted.
“What I will say is that we will be serious players if there is a hung Parliament. We will go in and we will talk to whoever it is, and it looks like the Conservative Party will be the largest party.
“We will talk to them, we have a lot in common. We want to see Brexit work, and or course for Northern Ireland we want to see the Union strengthened and the Conservatives are committed to that.
“Obviously we will want to get the best deal for Northern Ireland,” he added.